Is the Horror Movie ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ a True Story?
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has become a horror franchise, with nine movies, comics, and a video game adaptation of the original film. The original movie and every one of its sequels, including the newest one on Netflix, are all fictional.
However, have you ever heard the phrase 'Inspired by true events'?
There was one man who committed crimes so heinous, he was the inspiration behind multiple horror movie characters, including Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, Norman Bates of Psycho, and Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Who Was Ed Gein?
The idea behind the original film was sparked by real killer Ed Gein from Wisconsin. His story is truly the stuff of nightmares -- even more so than a family of chainsaw-wielding Texas cannibals.
Edward Theodore Gein, also known as the Butcher of Plainfield, was always seen as a strange loner in his Wisconsin community. After his brother and mother died, Gein lived by himself in a dilapidated farmhouse.
After the disappearance of hardware store owner Bernice Worden, police were led to Gein. Countless body parts were found in his home, but many of them came from his grisly habit of robbing graves. Although he confessed to two murders, Gein was only charged with one: Bernice Worden’s.
How Much of 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' Was Based on Ed Gein?
Despite being promoted as 'inspired by a true story', both the original 1974 movie from Tobe Hooper and the 2003 Marcus Nispel remake are only lightly based on the real-life murderer Ed Gein, according to chasingthefrog.com.
Gein did wear a human's scalp and face, but he shot his victims instead of using a chainsaw.
The most recognizable similarity is the home of Leatherface. The grisly interior of the movie set was similar to what was found inside Ed Gein's farmhouse in 1957.
The Opening Narrative of 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (1974)
It's easy to see how people were misled and believed the story was completely real, after this introduction:
"The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy that befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother, Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young. But, had they lived very, very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see that day. For them an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare.
The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." - August 18th, 1973